The Writer’s Desk features the desks and writing practices of Gemini Ink faculty, visiting authors, teaching artists, volunteers, students, interns, staff, partners and more.  Receive new posts in your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter at

Join Desiree Kannel on Saturday, Dec 2, from 10am-2:30pm CST, for her workshop: Creating Scenes that Move the Story. This class is hybrid (via Zoom and in-person at Gemini Ink). In this 4-hour workshop, writers will analyze scenes from their own work and learn how to decide what to cut and what to revise.

Hi Desiree! It’s great to have you here with us! Let’s dive right into your writing habits. Can you describe your first writing desk? How is it different (or not) from your current writing desk?

My first real writing desk was a small, red roll-top desk I had in my bedroom. I would wake up before my young daughter to get some writing done. My daughter soon learned that when mommy was “working” she should try not to disturb me. After a while, I migrated to various coffee shops around time. Today, a good coffee shop is where I do most of my writing. People ask if the noise bothers me, but it doesn’t. In fact, I think the chatter and people coming and going are inspirational. One of the first things I did when I moved to San Antonio three years ago was ask on NextDoor for coffee shop recommendations. I got a good list from that!

What is the one piece of writing advice that you value most?

“You don’t think when you write, you write when you write.” —Author unknown.

This is the best advice on writing I have ever received and it has helped me avoid writer’s block many times. When I think too much about what is unfolding on the page, I freeze up or, even worse, start to write crap. The thinking happens after the first draft and I know a bit more about the type of story I am writing. Being a die-hard pantser, this fits my writing style perfectly.

What is your favorite podcast and why?

I really like The History Chicks podcast. They feature famous women from the past and start by sharing the subjects family history too. The one on Maya Angelou was fantastic!

What are some misconceptions about being a writer that you can discredit?

Through my writing service, Rose Writers, I meet a lot of people who don’t understand how challenging and time-consuming writing a novel can be. (Yes, it can take years!) Their eyes get big when I share that no, the first draft will not be your last draft. Never has and never will. I believe Walter Mosely said that the easier a book is to read, the harder it was to write. This is so true but hard to convince the many would-be writers I meet.

What theme or symbol often emerges in your work? Why are you drawn to this theme/symbol?

Except for my latest book, The Delany Bennets, my other writings typically deal with complex family dynamics. I write stories to understand people and why they do the things they do. My first successful short story was based on something I heard a family member did and no one could understand why because it seemed so out of character. From that, I developed a character, family, and situation to make it make sense.

“The difference between real life and fiction is that fiction needs to make sense.” —Hemingway (I think)

What is your next project?

I began writing my 3rd novel which is a prequel to my first, Lucky John. In the 80s, I worked on Galveston Island and found the historical aspect fascinating so it is not surprising that the birthplace of Juneteenth showed up in my writing. This book tells the story of the great-great-grandfather of John Roberts, the main character of Lucky John. It begins on June 19, 1865, in Galveston and ends in the citrus fields of Southern California. Quite the journey!

If people want to learn more about your work, where should they go?

People can find me on Insta at @RWWrites or on my website,

Desiree Kannel is a writer and teacher from Southern California. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles, and a post-grad certificate in Rhetoric & Composition from California State University Dominguez Hills. Desiree’s fiction has appeared in the Running Wild Anthology of Short Stories (2019), Fourth & Sycamore, and others. Her novel, Lucky John (2020), was a finalist in the African American Fiction category in the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Her second novel, The Delany Bennets, was published in October 2023. Desiree leads creative writing workshops online and locally and is a Gemini Ink teaching artist.

Anisa Onofre

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